Columbia House parent files for bankruptcy protection

Columbia House, the company that once offered you eight CDs for a penny, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. after losing out on sales to digital streaming.

Direct-to-consumer music and DVD club fades in the age of digital streaming

Columbia House made the transition to online sales, but couldn't survive the advent of streaming media. (CBC)

Columbia House, the company that once offered you eight CDs for a penny, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. after losing out on sales to digital streaming.

Filmed Entertainment Inc., parent of the Columbia House DVD Club, which sells recorded movies and TV series directly to consumers, said Monday it has filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S.

Filmed Entertainment of New York said it plans to try to sell the remaining Columbia House business through the bankruptcy process.

Columbia House, owned by CBS, began a mail-order business selling records in 1955. It later moved into CD music sales and later DVDs of films and TV shows, making the transition to online sales. CBS sold the business in 2008 and it changed hands twice before being bought by Filmed Entertainment.

In 2010, then owned by Direct Brands, it ceased operations in Canada and stopped selling music. 

The company says its revenue peaked in 1996 at approximately $1.4 billion US and declined in almost every year since then. In 2014, the company's net revenues were $17 million.

"The business has been in decline for approximately two decades, driven by the advent of digital media and resulting declines in the recorded music business and the home-entertainment segment of the film business," the company said in its statement.  

The first DVD was free, but then consumers were expected to keep buying. (CBC)

With files from The Associated Press

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